Hours after cancelling its only game, Paradox shutters its 24-person Life by You studio

People gaze outwards toward a sunset.
(Image credit: Paradox)

Paradox has announced it's shuttering Paradox Tectonic, the studio that was solely responsible for development of Sims competitor Life by You, until that game was suddenly cancelled just yesterday. Tectonic was a 24-person studio headed up by former Second Life boss Rod Humble, based out of Berkeley, California.

In a statement on Paradox's website, CEO Fredrik Wester called the announcement "difficult and drastic news for our colleagues at Tectonic," but that "with cancellation of their sole project we have to take the tough decision to close down the studio. We are deeply grateful for their hard work in trying to take Paradox into a new genre."

That work was meant to bear fruit earlier this month, with Life by You slated for an early access release on June 4 after multiple delays. But that went awry when the game was delayed again just two weeks before that date, this time with no replacement date in sight.

At the time, Paradox simply said that "additional development time is needed" to get the game into shape, but that's all gone out the window now. Whatever flaws led to those delays eventually proved fatal to the game, with Paradox declaring that "once we took that pause to get a wider view of the game, it became clear to us that the road leading to a release that we felt confident about was far too long and uncertain."

Paradox also said it had delayed the game multiple times to give it "a fair shot at realizing the potential we saw," but I suppose it's now run out of patience. Life by You was cancelled less than 24 hours ago, leaving Paradox Tectonic without a game to work on. The closure of the studio itself was probably grimly inevitable.

It's been a rough time for Paradox as a publisher these past few years. Not only has it run into issues around Life by You, but there have been much-publicised problems around the development of Vampire: the Masquerade – Bloodlines 2, problems which saw the game handed off to a whole new developer after Paradox decided its original devs at Hardsuit Labs weren't up to snuff. The company also booted Double Eleven off of work on Prison Architect 2, taking over that project itself, and cut ties with Harebrained Schemes following the underperformance of The Lamplighters' League.

All a bit chaotic, in other words, and it leaves you wondering just what's happening behind the scenes that keeps throwing these apparently existential problems across so many Paradox projects. Perhaps one day we'll find out, but for now I'm just hoping no more developers lose their jobs.

Joshua Wolens
News Writer

One of Josh's first memories is of playing Quake 2 on the family computer when he was much too young to be doing that, and he's been irreparably game-brained ever since. His writing has been featured in Vice, Fanbyte, and the Financial Times. He'll play pretty much anything, and has written far too much on everything from visual novels to Assassin's Creed. His most profound loves are for CRPGs, immersive sims, and any game whose ambition outstrips its budget. He thinks you're all far too mean about Deus Ex: Invisible War.